Questions to Ask When Shopping for an Extended Auto Warranty


Getting an extended warranty is a lot like shopping for a car itself. Avoid overpaying for extras you don’t need by asking the right questions to ensure the coverage plan is right for you.

We talked with our Director of Claims Administration at Endurance about what questions to ask when shopping for a vehicle service contract. Alex is a 21-year automotive veteran who started as a hands-on mechanic in the Midwest. 

Types of Policies

Most extended warranty services offer various types of policies, but ultimately there are two primary types. Having a deeper understanding of an extended car warranty policy can help you determine which type works best for you.  

  1. Exclusionary policies – Cover many types of repairs, but they include a list of exclusions that are specifically not covered. For example, you may see that body repairs are covered, but backup cameras are not. 
  2. Stated component – Lists out by section what is covered, so you can check to ensure things you need coverage on are included. For example, there will be an engine section that will list all components covered under warranty. 

If your car is older, you don’t want to overspend on a contract that covers things your vehicle doesn’t have.

Reading a contract

Every vehicle service contract has a definition section that calls out specifically where to find the policy terms are, identify terms and entities, and explain how to use the coverage and extra benefits. Here’s what you should look for when reviewing your extended auto warranty contract

  1. Maintenance requirements – Many warranties only require vehicle owners to adhere to the owner’s manual when it comes to maintenance. However, it’s important to check because some policies do require you to get additional maintenance. For example, your owner’s manual might recommend an oil change every 6,000 miles, but a warranty’s maintenance requirement may insist you do change the oil every 3,000 miles.
  2. Steps to file a claim – As many of us know, breakdowns can happen at any point. We highly suggest knowing the proper steps in filing a claim to avoid any unnecessary issues in the process.
  3. Phone numbers – Take down the contact information for important issues like roadside assistance, vehicle repair shops, and more that are covered under your warranty. Saving these numbers ahead of time can make filing a claim or calling for help less stressful or time-consuming.
  4. Additional benefits – If your policy comes with additional benefits, then look for how to access them and use them. Does your policy cover trip interruption? Are you provided 24/7 roadside assistance? These are important questions to take into consideration – You don’t want to miss out on things that will prolong the life of your car because you didn’t do your homework.

Questions to ask when shopping for a vehicle service contract

Hopefully, the information above has helped narrow down what type of extended vehicle warranty you’re after, but if not, here are some questions to ask when being quoted. 

  1. What are the exclusions in my policy? 
  2. If you have something specific you’re concerned about, ask about that specific item. 
  3. Does the policy cover wear and tear? Power train-only policies are available that specifically covers wear and tear – a good idea for a newer vehicle you’re planning on keeping. For older vehicles, you may want something different.
  4. Are there other contract levels available? We highly recommend getting a vehicle service plan that works for you and covers everything you need, without going overboard. Don’t let someone oversell you into purchasing extras you don’t need.
  5. What are some factors that can void your policy? 

When in the market for auto protection, be sure to do your homework, so you end up with a perfect warranty plan for your needs.

We’re here to help

If you don’t have auto protection from Endurance, now is the time to prepare for the unexpected. We have limited time relief plans available, and you can request a no-obligation quote or call 1-866-918-1438 to hear about minimal down payments. When it comes to car maintenance, there’s a lot to think about, and we’re here to help.

Plus, all policies come with a FREE 1-year membership for Endurance Elite, which offers tire replacement/reimbursement, ID theft protection, repair financing, and more.

A Vehicle Service Contract (VSC) is often referred to as an “auto warranty” or an “extended car warranty,” but it is not a warranty. A VSC does, however, provide repair coverage for your vehicle after the manufacturer’s car warranty expires. A VSC is a contract between you and a VSC provider or administrator that states what is a covered repair and what is not. Not all vehicles qualify for coverage; Endurance does not offer VSCs in California.